Economic Development and Human Resources

Rethink West Michigan recruits ex-Michiganders

November 25, 2013
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Rethink West Michigan recruits ex-Michiganders
Professionals network at a West MichAgain recruiting event in Grand Rapids at Eve. Photo via

Holiday travel can be hectic and stressful, leaving some people thinking, "Maybe we should relocate closer to family."

The Right Place and Hello West Michigan are hoping to take advantage of that line of thinking with a special recruiting event this Wednesday.

The casual happy hour, Rethink West Michigan, will be at The Factory’s co-working space, at 38 Fulton St. W, on the fourth floor, from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m.

“This event is a recruiting event aimed at getting in front of individuals who might be coming home for the holidays who live outside of the area,” said Megan Sall, business development manager at The Right Place, a regional economic development nonprofit.

MichAgain model

Rethink West Michigan is modeled after a series of recruiting events held in cities across the country by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

“Last year, the MEDC was running a program called MichAgain, where they were going out to different cities in the U.S. and talking to people who were formerly from Michigan about opportunities that were back home, here in the state,” Sall said.

The events were a success and did bring some professionals back to Michigan.

Kristen Ditta, senior marketing consultant at Priority Health, had been living in Chicago for five years when she attended the MEDC’s Chicago MichAgain event.

“Attending the event really solidified the feelings I was starting to have about moving back to West Michigan,” Ditta said. “Seeing all these companies come together just to entice talent to move back made me feel really good, and it made me excited for the possibilities in Michigan.

“I think it goes a long way for people who might already be thinking about it,” Ditta added. “The event I was at was so well put together: all the speakers, the videos shown, employers on hand — I was impressed.

“I was actually blown away by the number of great companies who were all hiring,” she said. “I left with a really positive feeling towards West Michigan, not to mention a lot of new contacts.”

This will be the second Rethink West Michigan event hosted by The Right Place and Hello West Michigan. They held the first event last year.

Searching for "talent"

Sall said that at least 10 companies plan to attend the event, all looking to hire, and she expects between 100-150 people.

“There are leaders in so many industries that are located right here, and they are all looking for talent,” Sall said. “Highly skilled, qualified talent is probably their biggest impediment to growth, so it really is important that we are finding people that can take these positions and that can help move these companies forward.”

Hello West Michigan has about 40 member companies, and on any given day, they usually have somewhere between 800-1,000 openings.

The MEDC is providing event support through its STEM programs, which Sall said would be reflected by a stronger focus on STEM jobs this year.

“Now is a great time to live in West Michigan,” Sall said. “We have really interesting and fun companies here and really interesting positions that need to be filled. Cost of living is great. Your family is here. Maybe it’s time to re-think West Michigan.”

People can register online, but walk-ins are also welcome.

Rethink West Michigan 2013 employers

Kelly Services
Holland Board of Public Works
Spectrum Health

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